Summer camps of all sorts available for children

First Posted: 1/15/2009

The Robeson County Extension Center has been buzzing with activity every since our children got out of school for summer vacation. Many of our young folks are participating in a variety of Summer Fun Day-Camps that are provided throughout the summer by our 4-H staff and lots of volunteers.
In addition to these day camps, the Robeson County 4-H program offers two very affordable camping experiences at certified camps outside the county. One is a week-long camp for youth ages 8-14. The other is a short, overnight camping experience for the same age group.
Many of us had an opportunity to attend at least one camp when we were young. I have heard many people say how much they enjoyed camp, and that they will remember that camping experience for the rest of their life.
Why not give your children or grandchildren the same opportunity? Why not make arrangements to let them attend 4-H camp this summer?
The week-long camp will be held July 23-28 at Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Camp in Reidsville. The normal cost for this camp is $380 per week for each camper which includes camp, transportation, and snacks at the camp store throughout the week. However, with support from United Way and camp scholarships provided by several businesses and individuals in the county, this camping experience can be provided for only $185 per camper as long as slots are available.
There will be about 75 campers from Robeson County attending this camp. At this time there are still about eight camping slots remaining, so if you would like to enroll your child or grandchild in 4-H camp please contact your 4-H office as soon as possible by calling 671-3276.
Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H camp is one of the best, most sought after, certified residential camps in the state. Our campers will board an air-conditioned motor coach on Sunday morning for their trip to camp, and will return Friday afternoon. While at camp they will participate in swimming, canoeing, ropes courses, rock climbing walls, arts, crafts, and much more.
In addition to having lots of fun, summer camp provides lots of other benefits for young people. By spending a week in a camp environment with many other children their age, they learn better communication and team working skills. They increase their self-esteem and self confidence. They are in a safe and nurturing environment which helps them work on decision making skills. They meet other young people from other parts of North Carolina that they might not have the chance to be exposed to otherwise. They gain new skills, and they gain an experience they will never forget.
By the time children reach school age many of them have never spent a night away from their parents. Many of them see their brothers, sisters or friends go away for a week for camp, and they want to go too. But camping can be real challenge for young people, and for their parents as well.
Your 4-H program offers an overnight camping experience to a real 4-H camp for campers that can not afford or do not wish to be involved in a week-long camp. The purpose of this camp is to provide a camping experience, but for just one night.
For only $25, youth ages 8-14 can attend Millstone 4-H camp in Ellerbe. This camp is held August 4-5, and the cost includes transportation and all meals and snacks while they are gone. They leave on the morning of the 4th, and return the afternoon of the 5th. Looking at this closely, they are gone for about 30 hours, so the cost is less than $1 per hour, much less than the cost of a baby sitter.
While at camp they are under the guidance of certified camp counselors that have been trained to provide positive camping experiences for young campers. In addition, our 4-H staff is with them the entire time. These young campers get to do almost everything the week-long campers get to do, including swimming, arts, and crafts. There are still slots available for this camp. Call your 4-H office now and enroll your child or grandchild. There are more than 500 accredited camps in North Carolina. These camps vary in length from three days to as much as nine weeks. There are some camps just for girls, some just for boys, and some coed. Some of them are designed for youth with special challenges such as fighting cancer, autistic, diabetes, weight loss, or the loss of a parent to cancer. Some of them have a single focus such as surfing, marine biology, computers, religion, arts and sciences, environmental, or one of the sports.
But very few of these camps are as affordable as 4-H camp. Many range in price from $600 per week, to as much as $1,050 per week. Some of the very specialized camps cost as much as $5,300 for a 10-day camping experience.
I encourage you to consider making arrangements for a very affordable camping experience for your child or grandchild while slots are still available. The experience will be something you child will remember for the rest of their lives. Just ask some of your friends that have been to summer camp before.

– Everett Davis is the director of the Robeson County Cooperative Extension Service. The Cooperative Extension home page is

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